To paraphrase what American writer and humorist Lewis Gizzard once said, pleasant thoughts will always come while a homegrown tomato. This may sound strange to many people, but it has some truth to it since this edible berry can be used in many types of comfort dishes, including spaghetti sauce, pizza, and sandwiches.
While you may want to have a good supply of tomatoes at home, there may be instances when you would need to store them for later use. Due to this, we came up with a list of the ways how you can store tomatoes. Check out the list below.
How to Store Tomatoes
Let’s get into all the details you need to know about storing tomatoes, including whether or not they should be refrigerated.
#1: Store unripe tomatoes at room temperature
So should tomatoes be refrigerated? That is often the #1 question that is on everyone’s minds when it comes to tomatoes.
One thing you should remember is not to store unripe tomatoes in the fridge. Storing them in the fridge will stop the ripening process and you will end up with unripe, green tomatoes. You should store them in a paper bag at room temperature.
Moreover, the tomatoes should be stored with their stems down. This will allow the tomato to retain its moisture and stops air from entering it. You should also avoid storing them in layers since their delicate nature may cause them to weigh down on the tomatoes under them.
#2: Store ripe tomatoes in a cool, dry place
For ripe tomatoes, you should store it in a cool, dry place. If your home has a root cellar or wine cellar, this would be the best place to store the tomatoes. Just make sure the temperatures are between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
You may also store ripe tomatoes in the fridge, but it may lose some of its flavor-producing activity. To counter address this, you should give it time to recover at room temperature before using them. Similar to unripe tomatoes, store ripe tomatoes with the stems down and in a single layer.
#3: Store overripe tomatoes in the refrigerator
Unlike unripe and ripe tomatoes, overripe tomatoes should be stored in the fridge. This will stop its ripening process and prevent it from getting too squishy. It will also prevent other issues from emerging, including the formation of molds.
Since you are storing overripe tomatoes in the fridge, you should also allow them to return to room temperature. This will allow the tomatoes to reacquire its flavor, which was lost when it was placed in the fridge.
#4: Store cut tomatoes in the refrigerator
Cut tomatoes can easily are susceptible to spoilage and bacteria. Due to this, it is best to store them in the refrigerator. This is particularly true during the summer when the temperature is warm.
To store cut tomatoes in the fridge, cover the cut side with a paper towel before you put it in the fridge. But make sure to use the cut pieces within two days. Moreover, you should allow the cut tomatoes to go back to room temperature before you use them.
#5: Freeze tomatoes for long-term storage
Uncut tomatoes have a shelf life of five days if they are stored in the pantry and seven days if they are stored in the refrigerator. But there may instances when you want to store them for a long time. In this case, you should freeze the tomatoes.
Freezing uncut tomatoes can last up to three months. But you should keep in mind that they will lose their texture and flavor when they are frozen. Since they will also become mushy after they are taken out of the freezer, you may use frozen tomatoes as part of your dishes.
What to Do With Excess Tomatoes
Since tomatoes have a short shelf life, you may want to use them as soon as possible. This is particularly true with sliced tomatoes. While freezing can extend their shelf life, the tomatoes may lose its texture and flavor.
If you find out that you bought and cut more tomatoes than you can use for a dish, don’t worry since we got your back. We listed several things you can do with any excess tomatoes you brought home from the grocery.
Raw Tomato Soup (Gazpacho)
Making tomato soup would be one of the best things you can do with excess tomatoes. You can either make raw tomato soup. Making some raw tomato soup is easier than you think and all you need is a blender and other produce you want to use.
The first thing to do is to blend ripe tomatoes together with other items you want to use, including cucumber (more tips here: Cucumber Storage), onions, or bell peppers. After blending the ingredients, put them in the fridge to chill. After chillin’ like a villain, voila you have Gazpacho.
Puree the Tomatoes
Tomato puree can be used in several dishes. It may be simpler than tomato sauce, but it is thicker. Moreover, you can even use it to make tomato soup, pizza sauce or tomato sauce. It can also be used as the base for barbecue sauce.
To make tomato puree, remove the seeds to ensure they do not make the puree bitter. Then cook the tomatoes to make them easier to blend. After this, let the cooked tomatoes cool before you blend them.
Dried tomatoes are great snack items. You can also give dishes a tangy flavor by adding dried tomatoes. While you can buy sun-dried tomatoes in the grocery, you can also make them using the excess tomatoes you have at home.
The first thing to do is to slice the tomatoes and sprinkle a little salt on them. After this, you can let them dry under the sun or you can use a food dehydrator or oven to hasten the process. When stored in proper conditions, dried tomatoes can last up to seven months.
Homemade Tomato Catsup
If you are not keen on using store-bought catsup on your burgers, you may want to make your own tomato catsup. Since you are the one making it, you will know the ingredients you used. While some homemade tomato catsups are complicated to make, some are easy and require only a few ingredients.
Aside from the tomatoes, you would need light brown sugar, paprika, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar. These are the basic ingredients that you need to make simple homemade tomato catsup.
Similar to other fruits and vegetables, you can also make your own pickled tomatoes. Pickled tomatoes are great on salads and sandwiches. Even as the process may be complex and long, it will allow you to avoid throwing away any excess tomatoes you have in the kitchen.
Just cook any of your favorite spices, such as mustard seeds and red pepper, in olive oil for two minutes. Add vinegar and sugar and cook for five minutes until the sugar dissolves to make the brine. Then, add some salt and pour it into a sterilized jar with the peeled ripe tomatoes.
Summary on How to Store Tomatoes
Tomatoes are so delicate that you should use them within a short period of time, especially if they are ripe. But if you cannot use all the tomatoes you bought for your dishes, you have to make sure you know how to store them so you can prolong their shelf life, even for a short time.
How to Store Tomatoes: FAQs
There are a number of important questions that people have about tomato storage. Here are the answers to some of the most common ones here.
Should Tomatoes be Refrigerated?
Tomatoes that are ripe and going to be eaten in the next couple of days should be kept on the counter and not refrigerated, as should underripe, green tomatoes. However, very ripe tomatoes, or ones that are already cut should be stored in the fridge to slow down the decay process.
What is the Best Way to Store Tomatoes?
To store tomatoes, keep unripe, green ones in a paper bag or cardboard box with the stem down in a cool, dry place. When they turn red, it’s time to eat them! Ripe tomatoes should be stored on the counter away from the sunlight and eaten quickly. Store very, very ripe tomatoes in the fridge.
Do Tomatoes Lose Flavour When Refrigerated?
When tomatoes are refrigerated, they lose their flavour. This is because refrigerated destroys some of the compounds which produce the characteristic aroma, which in turn makes them less flavourful.
Have your Say about Tomatoes
Would you have any other ways of storing tomatoes at home? Tell us about them by making a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
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